White to debut Friday?Rookie forward D.J. White, sidelined most of the season after undergoing jaw surgery last fall, could make his Thunder debut Friday night at Toronto, depending on how he fares in practices Wednesday and Thursday. "I don’t know when it’ll be,” White said. "That’s up to the coaches. But I know it’ll feel good. It’ll be a relief after going through so much this year, sitting out so long. It’ll just be a relief to run out there on the court with my Thunder uniform on.” A late first-round draft pick, White averaged 17.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in three games with the NBA Development League’s Tulsa 66ers.
Earn close callsInterim coach Scott Brooks still hasn’t been assessed his first technical foul but came close twice Tuesday night. On one occasion, Brooks’ face turned red while he jawed with an official. "It’s easy to go out and get a technical, but it’s important for our team to realize that we have to continue to play hard and play together, play with a lot of effort and we will earn our right to get calls,” Brooks said. "Right now we still have to earn our right. ... I don’t feel a technical is necessary. That’s not going to teach our guys to play through fouls.”
Jackson on ThunderLakers coach Phil Jackson likes the Thunder’s young nucleus, its athleticism and a tenacity to not give up on a season that went sour early. Jackson, though, stressed that the LA Clippers had a similar young, athletic foundation only to have players leave or be traded. "This game is a lot about experience and (learning) how to win,” Jackson said. "Being close doesn’t count. It’s not like hand grenades or horseshoes. They are close. They play hard. Those things are important. They have three guys that look like they have some longevity. But on the inside it’s always how guys fit together personality-wise.”
Watson updateBrooks benched Earl Watson, inserting Chucky Atkins as his backup point guard six games ago. Watson hasn’t played in any of the six games, including two blowouts in which several reserves have played in the fourth quarter. After Tuesday’s game, Brooks met briefly with Watson in the hallway outside the locker room.
Thunder Girls in Sweet 16Beginning today at 1 p.m., fans can vote online for the Thunder Girls in the Sweet 16 round of the NBA dance team bracket contest. After defeating Phoenix in the first round, the Thunder Girls face the Spurs’ dance team. After 24 hours of voting, the winner advances to the Elite Eight. Fans can vote at thunder.nba.com.
Fast breakAmong celebrities in attendance were OU football coach Bob Stoops, OSU basketball coach Travis Ford, former OSU basketball coaches Eddie Sutton and Sean Sutton and former OU quarterback and politician J.C. Watts. ... White owns a small lead over Thabo Sefolosha and Jeff Green in the players’ NCAA Tournament pool. White picked North Carolina to win the title and has Missouri in the Final Four. Green selected Louisville to win it all. ... Six Thunder players scored in double figures, but only Kevin Durant (24) had more than 12 points. By Mike Baldwin and Darnell Mayberry